Jhumpa Lahiri's new book has been nominated for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. It's an ambitious undertaking, spanning decades and continents as the author tells the story of three generations of a family in Calcutta and Rhode Island.
The story opens with brothers Udayan and Subhash sneaking into an exclusive golf club near their home in Calcutta. Udayan, the younger brother, is bold and daring; Subhash tags along, timid but unwilling to let his brother take such a risk alone.
World leaders are convening in New York this week for the United Nations' General Assembly. And among other things, they're facing some potentially dramatic changes in arms control in the Middle East. Syria might give up it chemical weapons. Iran is signaling that it might negotiate with the West over its nuclear plans. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris looks at how this might affect Israel and its own weapons programs.
On a Monday morning, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. The siege of a Kenyan shopping mall was one of several spectacular acts of violence over the weekend. Each act only highlighted a long-running conflict that has continued for years somewhere off in our peripheral vision.
GREENE: The Somali group Al-Shabab claims responsibility for the attack on a mall in Kenya. Gunshots and explosions continued there today, on the third day of the siege.
I don't know about you, but I'm a little troubled when I hear about people who watch multiple screens. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you're watching a movie at home while live tweeting, or while keeping track at a ballgame. At least movie theaters are a sacred space, immune to these changes.
As if the battle over the budget as well as the looming fight over the debt ceiling were not enough, there's a Farm Bill. Congress extended the Farm Bill after the fiscal cliff deal in January, but that extension expires at the end of the month. Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues. But both parties agree on something: The $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called direct and countercyclical payments must go.
President Obama spoke at a memorial service Sunday for the victims of last week's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. The president and first lady also met with families of the dead. Twelve people were killed in addition to the gunman, who died in a shootout with police.
Stephanie Rubin and Ingrid Calvo are two New York-based moms who think American school lunches leave a lot to be desired. So they started a delivery business in Manhattan called Inboxyourmeal com. For $10, they'll deliver healthy, chef-prepared meals to students in their delivery area.
NPR's business news includes a first for Internet TV.
The video streaming service Netflix claimed a victory at the Emmy Awards last night. David Fincher took the Best Director prize for his work on the political drama "House of Cards;" the first time an online video distributor won in a major category.
The International Monetary Fund has played a pivotal role in responding to the global financial crisis. The IMF has almost 200 member countries, and the organization helps to keep their economies growing, or at least stable. Christine LaGarde heads the IMF.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene, good morning. Here is a window into President Obama's agenda right now. He's off to New York today for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government is heading towards a possible shutdown. And the president is helping the nation heal after another mass shooting.
Let's bring in a familiar voice on Monday mornings. Cokie Roberts, good morning.
John Hewitt is a neuroscientist who studies the biology of intelligence. He's also a parent. Over the years, Hewitt has periodically drawn upon his scientific knowledge in making parenting decisions.
"I'm a father of four children myself and I never worried too much about the environments that I was providing for my children because I thought, well, it would all work out in the end anyway — aren't the genes especially powerful?" Hewitt says.
Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why.
One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell.